Any yucca fans in NJ?

Jim_K_z7aOctober 16, 2002

I'm new here and was wondering who is growing yuccas in NJ? Are you a fan of them? What kinds are you growing? I live in Southern NJ near the southern end of the Gloucester/Camden county line. I'm growing about 20 different varities and have over 70 yuccas. They are amazing plants and nearly indestructible.

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hank_747(z6b-7a NJ)

Hey, Jim !!
Glad to see you here
(Hank from Princeton).

We might make a difference in this forum and some people will open up to the idea of subtropical landscaping in NJ.. :-))

    Bookmark   October 16, 2002 at 2:56PM
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Deb_NJ(z7 NJ)

Deb from Mount Laurel, Burlington County, here. I planted a yucca in a large ceramic pot this year. I will probably overwinter it in the pot, but I imagine I will need to plant it out in the spring. Sorry if it strikes you as heretical to have planted it in a pot at all! Any advice about the needs of yucca locally would be greatly appreciated.

And Hank, you don't have to convince me about the merits of subtropical gardening, having seen bananas and palms growing happily together at a nearby plant swap this September. What a fantastic effect!


    Bookmark   October 17, 2002 at 7:41AM
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Yes, I am a yucca fan, although I only have a few of the familiar green variety. I am looking for a variegated type. With our drought every summer, I'm leaning towards this type of gardening.


    Bookmark   October 17, 2002 at 9:22AM
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Deb, that's okay if you have one in a pot. But, what kind is it and where will it overwinter. If it's a recurvifolia, maybe you should put it in a garage during january and February. Recurvifolias are officially rated as a 7a yucca in the ground. In the event of some really really cold weather, it could suffer in a pot outside. I could give you lots of advice about raising yuccas in NJ, but it depends on what kind you are growing. Yuccas native to the eastern U.S. can take a lot more moisture all during the year and can handle different types of soils better then yuccas from the SW U.S. SW yuccas need very fast draining sandy rocky soil and can't take a lot of moisture. Some SW yuccas have a very high tolerance to cold weather, but they have to be bone dry to handle the cold. Throw in some South Jersey winter wetness and those SW yuccas lose a lot of their cold hardiness.

Hank, glad to see you here too.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2002 at 9:28AM
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hank_747(z6b-7a NJ)

Deb, there are so many types of Yuccas !
Some of them hardy to -20F -30F (Filamentosa) some of them
are hardy only to zone 8.
Some Yuccas can stand easily humid conditions and wet winters (Y.Recurvifolia, Y.Aloifolia), and some Texas Yuccas (Rostrata, Thompson, Treculiana) will rot during wet winters
if not planted in elevated beds with good drainage and with some canopy obove.
Therefore when people say they have a Yucca it most likely to be Y.Filamentosa (Adam's Needle) - the most common and the hardiest one.

It does not develop any trunk.

Rostrata, Thompson, Recurvifolia,Gloriosa, Aloifolia, Treculiana and some other Yuccas are considered tree yuccas and they grow trunk from 4' to up to 15' but it takes years.

also, when you plant your yucca outdoors, it will develop much faster than being in the pot.
If your yucca is purchased in local nursery, you can plant it now, you do not have to keep it in the pot over winter

    Bookmark   October 17, 2002 at 9:41AM
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Deb_NJ(z7 NJ)

I remember the plant tag described this yucca as an Adam's needle. It does not show any signs of developing a trunk. It worries me to have it in a pot because I do think it would like some room to grow.

I bought it on impulse. I have what I call my ornamental grass garden in a set of brown glazed ceramic pots of varying sizes. I had a vacancy and saw the yucca, and like most gardeners, I am always looking to expand my knowedge of the plant kingdom, so I bought it.

Grasses can be divided, but yuccas cannot, is that right? Which is why I do want to plant it out. I was thinking it would be better to leave it in the pot over the winter, thinking it would be more or less dormant, and then plant it out with the best start soil-wise, etc., in the spring, when it would be in a more active period of growth. What do you advise? I will plant it in the front of our house, which is rather formally landscaped (by the previous owners, but looks nice, I think) with beds that have a layer of landscape fabric put down, then covered by a layer of red gravel. Planting in these beds is always difficult, and I don't really know much about the soil beneath. A kousa dogwood and various evergreens occupy the same bed.

How big should I dig the hole and what sort of soil conditions should I create for this yucca? As Sue said, in times of drought, planting something like yucca makes sense. And sorry, I did mean to sound that dumb, gardening-wise. Once I saw your post, Jim, and had seen an earlier post of yours, Hank, I realized that yuccas must present all kinds of gardening possibilities that I had previously not thought about. I just love the fact that here in New Jersey we have the ability to mix your more typical Northern type of plant with tropical types. So I am trying to learn more!


    Bookmark   October 18, 2002 at 7:08AM
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Deb, Adam's needle is a plain old yucca filamentosa, very common in our area and even grow wild. You are right that type of yucca will not form a trunk, but may develop a prostrate stem over a long period of time. They are very hardy, down to zone 4 or 5. So if you leave it in the pot outside over winter, it'll be fine. Even if we get a cold winter, it won't be zone 5 cold. Also, since it is a filamentosa that has developed a root system in its pot, you can plant it now. Just dig a hole a little bigger than the pot. Make sure the stem is slightly higher than the rest of the ground so water drains away. Filamentosa doesen't really need any special treatment other than full sun. It will get bigger so take that into consideration when you plant it. It can also handle more moisture than other yucca types.

About seperating yuccas, no they can not be seperated like an ornamental grass, but you can seperate offshoots called suckers or pups that will pop up from the main plant. You can also dig down next to an established yucca and break off a piece of root and it will start to grow within a few months. This is not the time of year to get suckers or root cuttings started in the ground. You could start them in a greenhouse or inside if you were able to provide good bottom heat. Yuccas need a lot of heat to get going.

When your yucca blooms you'll see the big flower spike grow from the center of the plant. After the bloom spike dies off, the rosette of leaves that produced the spike will die off. It happens very slowly over a period of seasons. The plant is not dead and will send a brand new set of leaves either right next to the plant that bloomed or right next to where the spike came out of the rosette of leaves. Filamentosa may or may not continue to grow from the set of leaves that produced the stem. I've seen where a filamentosa will grow a new set of leaves from the old set and I've seen filamentosa never produce new leaves from the old set, only from the ground. Yuccas hybridize all the time, so depending on what genes may be in your yucca will determine how it grows after a bloom. Most other yuccas continue to grow a new set of leaves next to where the bloom spike was. That's what gives yuccas height, or forms the trunks on yuccas.

You mentioned the ability in NJ to have tropical looking things mixed in with a northern garden. If you walked around my yard in the summer (and even now before our first frost), you would think you were somewhere way south of NJ. Huge bananas, cannas, elephant ears, gingers, cactus, caladiums, palms and loads of yuccas. Hank in Princeton is growing a lot of the same things too.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2002 at 9:53AM
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Deb_NJ(z7 NJ)

Thanks, Jim. You have taught me so much! I am going to print out this post for later reference.

I did grow caladiums, too, this year, some in pots, some in the ground. They are looking a bit peaked now in this colder weather. I was planning to store the ones in the pots in my garage over the winter. Am I on the right track?


    Bookmark   October 19, 2002 at 6:27AM
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Caladiums need to be stored at room temp or they rot, even when dry. They are true trops.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2002 at 7:31PM
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Steve is right. Last year I stored them in a big shoebox filled with perlite and left them on the top shelf of a closet inside the house. I checked on them periodically during the winter to make sure none were going soft on me.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2002 at 9:08AM
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Hi Jim-K, Everyone,

not growing them personally, but there are 3 mature plants at a garden i sometimes volunteer at. Green with ivory white flowers, Adam's Needle makes sense, since this is a churchyard...

I do like the strong presence/form, drought tolerance- essential nowadays, and I do secretly admire
"indestructability" in plants and other beautiful things :)

However! when I'm in the garden and weeding, I don't like getting stabbed by the sharp leaf points, the razor edges are a pain for me as i don't usually wear gloves. I find myself wishing the dead brown leaves at the bases of the plants where easier to pull free without needing my scissors and i always shovel-prune any pups since these guys already occupy their fair share of sun spots.

a curious question: although I've seen hummingbirds in the this garden, I've not witnessed them feed from the Yucca flowers. Have you seen the birds in your garden. Is there a kind they are more attracted to?

I happen to have a yellow/green variegated version [paper]cut-out on my decoupage desk upstairs, still playing around with the layout and what? to combine it with

so,anyway, I guess my opinion is rather polarized on this one :)

    Bookmark   October 21, 2002 at 9:49AM
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Deb_NJ(z7 NJ)

Glad I asked about the caladiums. I would probably have stored them in the garage, which is too cold, apparently. I will store them as suggested.



    Bookmark   October 22, 2002 at 6:57AM
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Mark_Sandy(z6 SE PA)

Jim. I'm new here also (@7 months later) and have a question for you. We have about 6 or 7 large and mature Yucca's of the green variety. Have no idea what type. My wife wants to split and transplant them about the yard. How do you split them, and will the live if you transplant them?


    Bookmark   May 21, 2003 at 2:34PM
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I have a huge one, not sure of the name. It was here when I bought the house, it gets a couple of big stalks with white flowers in the summer. I need to try to divide it later in the year but it is very easy care.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2003 at 2:36PM
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dstny1957(z5 IN)

I have loads of yuccas, they came w/the house. I believe they are the Adam's Needle described above, but they don't bloom. They did bloom when I first moved in about 25 years ago but they have stopped. One bloomed beautifully last year which really surprised me as it is in shade. Any tips on how to produce blooms? I'm not in NJ, but Indiana. Thanks--Claudia*

    Bookmark   May 24, 2003 at 12:30PM
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yourpal(z6 NJ)

I also have a bunch of Jacob's Needle yuccas in mixed beds along both sides of my front sidewalk. Several people have commented that they don't like them and have even suggested I remove them. When they bloom, however, I invite these folks back and, boy, does their opinion change! Nothing like walking up that sidewalk at dusk - it's like having so many magnificient candelabras on either side of you.

Claudia, after mine bloom, I cut the entire plant to the root. Just lop the whole thing off. Always comes back and blooms the next year.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2003 at 1:10PM
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For Mark about dividing yuccas. I just saw your post and will try and help you. Dividing yuccas depends on what kind you have. If you have a gloriosa or recuvifolia which grow tall with trunks and branches, you can cut a branch from one , let the cut section dry over for a few days, then just stick the whole thing in the ground and it should root in a few months during warm weather. If you have smaller plants growing out of the ground at the base of a larger portion, try and dig up as much as you can with as much root as you can and plant it wherever you want to move it. If you have smaller yuccas that do not form trunks and branches, you seperate those by digging down and removing them the same as you would from the taller yuccas. It's hard to give exact advice because I don't know exactly what you have. I can tell you though, that if you want to remove a whole yucca from its location, make sure you get all the roots, because they come back with a vengence if you don't get the whole thing out.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2003 at 3:42PM
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I need some help with Yuccas. I bought a home 3 years ago on Long Beach Island, and have a yucca out front. I'm not sure what type, but the leaves are all green, and 1 or 2 stalks grow in the spring, and flower. I've seen the same type of yucca where the hanging, brown leaves are cut away to show a bare trunk, but am not sure how to care for the plant. Chuck

    Bookmark   August 11, 2003 at 9:23PM
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Chuck, there are lots of different varieties of yuccas. Some grow tall, and others clump. Some leaves have filaments along the edges, others don't. Some leaves recurve down in the middle, others are more rigid and don't bend at all. The ones you see with the leaves cut away exposing a trunk are either gloriosa or recurvifolia. Both of those bloom in the spring (gloriosa will bloom in the fall too). When they do bloom, after the flowers fall away and the bloom stalk hardens or browns out, a new set of leaves starts to grow from where the bloom stalk was. In clumping types of yuccas, once the plant blooms, it doesn't continue to grow from the where the bloom stalk was. It sends out new growth from the root system. Over time a large clump forms and it's hard to tell where the older plants end and the new ones begin. The most common types of clumpers in this area are filamentosa and flaccida. Gloriosa and Recurvifolia will send out growth from the roots too, but will put out more height first before starting to clump. Yuccas are hard to identify also because some hybridization occurs among all species, but a certain moth has to be in the area to polinate the flowers. Without the moth, no seed pods will develop. I hope I haven't confused you further.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2003 at 9:36AM
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Jim, thanks. At least I know what I have. It grows tall, flowers in the spring only,the stem browns out, and new leaves form from around the stalk. Nothing grows fro the bottom. Should I cut away the dead leaves that are hanging down? How should I care for, and feed it? It is a pretty plant, but I'm afraid of losing it by caring for it improperly. Chuck

    Bookmark   August 12, 2003 at 8:40PM
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Chuck, you can cut away the leaves if that's the look you want. Here's something to consider though. Many times when a recurv or gloriosa blooms, more than one soucre of new growth emerges from where the bloom stalk was. That means as the new source of growth gets bigger, they form branches. You mentioned that it gets a few bloom spikes per year, so I'm assuming you have a few branches going on there. Depending on how old and big your yucca is, you could have many branches instead of a solitary trunk. Also, alot of times, the old browned out leaves actually lend structural support to the branches. Once the leaves are cut away, the branches may not be strong enough to support the fresher, newer green leaves. Another thing to consider when stripping off old leaves is that you expose the ground near the main trunk and it will actually promote new growth to emerge from the roots or even an exposed section of the trunk or one of the branches. Finally, in a really cold winter stripped yucca branches get really stressed and could snap under the weight of its head of leaves or in a heavy snow.

Lots of things to consider here. You could always just trim away some of the dead leaves closest to the ground exposing just the main trunk and leave some other dead leaves hanging down like a skirt. As far as feeding them, they really don't need any care. Yuccas are very tough plants. In fact, if you dug yours out of the ground, they would come back stronger than before. It would take a few years to get to the size you removed, but you'd have several small ones in its place. The only thing you should do for them is water them during overly hot or dry periods. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2003 at 11:26AM
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We have some yuccas that we rescued from a demolition site years ago. After transplanting them in our yard it took several years before they bloomed. We enjoyed them for a couple of years but now the deer eat the candles even before they're ready to bloom. They also eat the leaves which is surprising because they are so sharp. The mounded leaves, although clipped by the deer still add a little of interest to the landscape. I don't have any idea what variety they are. We really have to add them to our list of things to cover with bird netting next year!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2003 at 8:29PM
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WPalm033(Chicago Z6)

I live in the Chicago Suburbs and recently purchased a Soapweed Yucca, Yucca Rostrata, and a Thompsoniana Yucca. I know that the soapweed yuccas will do fine. They are nice thin stiff-spiked yuccas, w/out bases, but add decoration. They are hardy to about zone 4. My question is now about the other 2. The Yucca Rostrata is supposidly hardy to zone 5 but when doing research, I got a HUGE range of minimal temps. From -20F to 20F Lately our all time winter lows havnt gotten below -5 or so. The Thompsoniana Yucca is less hardy, but still proposed for zone 5. For both I am going to mulch the base well, wrap x-mas lights around the bases, and then rap burlap around them as well. (and maybe stuff some leaves within the crown) Do you guys think that these things will survive here? Our winters have been ALOT more mild than normal zone5 winters. It was almost 50 today for example. Tell me what you think! ( I am very experenced in cold-hardy/winter protection field) THANKS!!! =)

    Bookmark   December 22, 2003 at 1:05AM
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daffknee_2000(central OH zone 5)

How do you collect seed from yucca? I have noticed these big pod looking things on the spent flower stalks, but not sure if that is the seed pod, and if it is when do you harvest it? when green or do you wait til it dries up?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2004 at 7:01PM
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I normally only browse the NJ page but since there is a post on Yucca's...

I have two Y. filamentosaAdam's Needle), one badly damaged by deer(during the late winter) but the other less damaged. The less damaged one bloomed at the end of June and is sending up a smaller flower stalk now, in addition, it appears to have 5 new main stems(centers?) where new leaves, resembling the main growth leaves, have formed. Is this normal(?) and if not what should I do?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2004 at 11:37PM
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Daffknee 2000, i don't know if this is the correct answer, but it worked for me. about 2 yrs. ago, i was at my fathers house. i noticed he had a beautiful yucca (no idea what to yuccas and gardening)..there were tall spikes with brown pods on it. they were dry, i took a chance and took a couple of the pods to try and grow from seed (i didn't even know what were the seeds). i let them dry in my house, shook them and sure enough these seed like things fell out. i planted them in the garden, marking were i did. they took all this time to start looking like a yucca so i guess you need patience. i only realized it was the yucca by the distinctive leaves. good luck...hope you get some seeds!!
if i am wrong with anything i have said here please correct me. as i said, i am very new to gardening. i see there are many VERY experienced gardeners that i am looking forward to learning from. lisa

    Bookmark   April 1, 2005 at 12:14AM
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rothwood(z7 NJ)

I am interested. I have tranbsplanted a few yuccas into a sunny sandy area of my yard. Are there any red or oranged flower varieties that will grow in NJ?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2005 at 5:52PM
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wardw(z6 NJ)

I've been wondering about Texas Red Yucca and Texas Pink Yucca. They are both sold by High Country Gardens and listed hardy to at least zone 6 or zone 7. One wonders if they can take our wet? There may be a few truly insane easterners that have tried those species - the photos are beautiful. I've been tempted to call or email High Country, they may have an answer.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2005 at 9:32AM
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Can you guys give me some names of yuccas that will survive NJ? (Preferably ones that get BIG)??
Do they even get big here in NJ?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2005 at 11:39PM
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Hi: Yucca glauca is able to grow here in Zone 4, the Lake Champlain Valley of western Vermont. I have a few planted purchased at a nursery in Fargo, North Dakota, six years ago while on a car trip. I can't find them locally. Anyone have mail order source this plant? Thanks.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2005 at 8:08AM
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I planted two yucca rostrata's in Monmouth County approx. 3 years ago. They were purchased in Staten Island and were about 3 ft high at the time. They are now between 5-6 ft in height and doing fantastically. Winter does not phase them, and everyone who see's them absolutely loves them. I have a mini tropical paradise in my front yard.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2006 at 10:08PM
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Hi...I just purchased 9 yucca's this summer. I have no idea what kind they are. I was wondering if I need to protect them or wrap them for the winter season? Thanks so much...Robin

    Bookmark   August 11, 2006 at 1:56PM
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Help, my yucca isn't doing well. I have had it for 5 yrs. It is the variety that has a very tall trunk with several medium size green plants growing off it. All of a sudden the leaves are all yellow and there seems to be black where the leaf meets the base. I didn't see any bugs.How can I save it?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 3:55PM
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tinylady(07 NJ)

Hello, When I lived in NC I found it easy to grow them, but heer in south nj I do not where or how to plant them. I would love to see pics of your yucca gardens.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2007 at 8:58AM
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It's best to keep yuccas out of extra moist locations. I've seen people have then in moist soil that is also irrigated, and I guess they can tolerate that, but a Yucca such as Y. Rostrata would probably prefer a well-drained soil that is more sand than regular soil.

If you have time, drive up north of Asbury Park, NJ, and I think the street is Ocean, but it may have another name. It's the street closest to the ocean where you pass all of hte fancy houses. If you are going north from Asbury, look to your right. There is one house in either Interlaken or Deal that has two large Yucca Rostrata plants (I think it's Y Rostrata, at least), and they are absolutely amazing. Proof that you can grow a "palm-looking" plant on the NJ shore with much success.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 3:22PM
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Actually, my bad. The Y. Rostrata can handle the moisture during summer.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 3:31PM
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I'm hoping some one will answer this post, as I see the last post was two years ago.

I have a 9 year old Yucca in my landscaping. It was beautiful when it was small, but now, it is big. Husband cut off four new yuccas that grew from the bottom of the large one. What I want to know is, is there any way to stop it from producing new plants. And, since the four stumps are still in the ground, surrounding the adult one, are they growing to continue to grow? We are getting older and it was quite a lot of work for my husband to cut them out.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 12:33PM
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